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© Thomas Schauer
© Thomas Schauer

Cultural Experiences You Can Only Find In NYC

Picture of Ameena Walker
Updated: 9 February 2017
New York City is home to a seemingly endless number of unique cultural experiences and locales across the boroughs. Think you’ve done and seen it all? Take a look at our list of nine cultural experiences you can only find in NYC.

 

© Joe Woolhead

© Joe Woolhead

9/11 Memorial

The 9/11 Memorial features two of the largest man-made waterfalls in America, and is a tribute to those who lost their lives on that horrific day in 2001. Built on the grounds of the original Twin Towers, the 9/11 Memorial remembers and honors those killed in the infamous World Trade Center terror attacks. The names of every victim – in both the 2001 terror attacks as well as the 1993 attack – are inscribed along two breathtaking Memorial pool panels.

9/11 Memorial, 180 Greenwich Street, New York, NY, USA +1 212 312 8800

Bitcoin Center NYC

Bitcoin is a type of digital currency that might very well become the currency of the future. That being said, it might not be a bad idea to start hanging out at Bitcoin Center NYC, the only physical space in the country that is entirely dedicated to educating and promoting Bitcoin to the public. Offering everything from guest speakers to pseudo-stock exchange encounters to Bitcoin courses, after just one trip you will leave far less oblivious to all things Bitcoin.

Bitcoin Center NYC, 25 Cleveland Place, New York, NY, USA +1 917 515 5355

© Thomas Schauer

© Thomas Schauer

Dominique Ansel Bakery

Before all of the replicas and wannabes, Dominique Ansel Bakery was the only place on Earth where you would find a Cronut®. With all the imitators and fakers, this quaint bakery is still the only place to get your hands on an authentic Cronut®. And while you’re at it, try other innovative delectables like the Cookie Shot, a warm shot-glass-shaped chocolate chip cookie that is filled to order with Tahitian vanilla milk, DKA (which stands for Dominique’s Kouign Amann), and the life-altering Frozen S’mores, Tahitian vanilla ice cream, covered with chocolate feuilletine, wrapped in all-honey marshmallow, and torched to order. It’s almost impossible to walk out of this bakery disappointed.

Dominique Ansel Bakery, 189 Spring Street, New York, NY, USA +1 212 219 2773

Gowanus Canal Canoe Tour

The Gowanus Canal is one of the country’s most polluted waterways. With raw sewage, arsenic metals, carcinogens, and billions of strands of bacteria occupying this two-mile canal, it’s no wonder the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has declared it a super fund site and dedicated $500 million toward its cleanup. Yet with all that said, the allure of the canal has drawn in some of the truly crazed enthusiasts. The Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club offers free self-guided canoeing tours for those bold enough to dare enter the gross canal, in an attempt to educate the community on the historical impacts that led to the destruction of the Gowanus and hopefully to encourage folks to advocate for its revitalization.

Gowanus, NY, USA

© Amy Hart/Times Square Alliance

© Amy Hart/Times Square Alliance

Solstice in Times Square: Mind Over Madness Yoga

Summer in New York City is a special kind of hot. With its crowded sidewalks and high-rise buildings keeping the heat confined to the streets, there is only one word to describe New York City summers: sweltering. What better way to brace yourself for the hot days that lie ahead than to let out one big ‘om’ in the middle of Times Square on the first day of summer? Every year, Athleta Mind Over Madness invades Times Square for a full day of yoga sessions, beginning at sun-up and concluding at sundown. With free registration and a complimentary yoga mat, this event is a must-try. This might be the only time that rest and relaxation can reside in the same space as Times Square. Besides, when else will you get an opportunity to hold warrior pose or be downward dog in the middle of Times Square?

Times Square, NY, USA

Citi Field Sleepover

Sure, you can watch a professional baseball game at many stadiums across the country. But in how many can you spend the night? That’s right. Once a year, Citi Field allows fans to occupy the outfield with sleeping bags and tents. Watch the Mets play an away game on the jumbo screens and enjoy a family friendly movie accompanied by free snacks. After catching some Zzz’s, you will be treated to breakfast before being sent on your way from this super cool sleepover. Don’t forget to take your picture with Mr. Met the mascot.

Citi Field, 123-01 Roosevelt Avenue, Queens, NY, USA +1 718 507 8499

Coney Island Mermaid Parade

This large art parade is something like a New York City holiday. Each year, thousands of people flock to the streets of Coney Island to kick-start their summer with some color-filled fun. Sea and sand-inspired costumes flood the streets, turning Mermaid and Neptune Avenues into their names’ embodiment. With full-fledged costumes, body art, and entertainment, the artistry of New Yorkers becomes highly evident and appreciated at this one-of-a-kind parade that you will only find in New York.

Coney Island, NY, USA

© Nina Loschiavo

© Nina Loschiavo

Pickle Day

Yes, Pickle Day is a real day full of celebration and all. Every October, for one day, the streets of the Lower East Side come alive to celebrate all things pickled. As homage to the neighborhood’s pickling tradition, thousands of people flock the LES to learn about and share their pickling knowledge. Food, fashion, and picklers, of course, are accompanied by live music and numerous activities during this unique phenomenon.

Lower East Side, NY, USA

CURLFEST

Presented by the Curly Girl Collective, CURLFEST is an event that celebrates multicultural and natural beauty. Held in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, CURLFEST allows both women and men of color to come together to embrace their curls, kinks, and coils and to find comfort in being unapologetically themselves. Come take part and enjoy seeing some of the most amazing twists, braids, dreadlocks, and afros in town! CURLFEST offers the best not only in hair care but also in beauty and fashion. With pop-up salons, free products, and a group of small businesses selling goods at the ‘Vendor Marketplace,’ there is something for everyone at CURLFEST. Stop by and let your hair down. Literally.

Prospect Park, NY, USA